Lizzo issues call to protect Black trans women in powerful Juneteenth message

Lizzo wears a blue outfit as she poses for a photo at an event

Pop-rap superstar Lizzo marked her fourth annual Juneteenth Giveback campaign with a powerful message honouring Black trans women.

Lizzo is one public figure who never fails to use her platform to push for positive change. Aside from consistently giving a platform to queer performers, including Drag Race alumni in states where the very art of drag is under attack, she is also fiercely body-positive and recently released her own line of inclusive clothing, Yitty, inspired by her hit “Everybody’s Gay”.

But her activism goes well beyond the musical stage, as the Grammy award-winning artist proved when she launched her latest Juneteenth Giveback campaign.

Juneteenth, which has been a federal holiday in the US since 2021, celebrates the end of slavery in America. The date, 19 June, commemorates the day the last enslaved people learned they were free (two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s famous 1863 Emancipation Proclamation).

Lizzo’s campaign, which recognises Black-led grassroots businesses, will support five not-for-profit organisations, in a bid to encourage her fans to make financial donations of their own.

The first organisation to be highlighted this year is the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, a US organisation dedicated to the protection and defence of Black transgender people.

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In a heart-felt announcement to her 13.5 million followers on Instagram, Lizzo revealed that she would be donating $50,000 (approximately £39,000) to the institute to help “protect our Black trans family”.

The singer wrote: “That’s right, we know who Marsha P. Johnson is, and we know what Marsha P. Johnson has done for the LGBTQ – emphasis on that T – community.”

Johnson was a trans-right activist and drag queen, and was a prominent figure in the Stonewall uprising in 1969.

Lizzo went on to explain the important work carried out by the institute to “protect and defend” the rights of Black trans people, and how the organisation was founded amid an epidemic of fatal violence against the community.

“It protects and defends the human rights of Black, transgender people. They do this by organising community, advocating for the people and creating a healing community, developing transformative leadership and promoting collective power.”

The “About Damn Time” singer explained that the institute was founded “in direct response to the nationwide and vastly under-reported epidemic of murders of Black trans women” across the United States.

“The violent and preventable nature of these deaths directly connects to the exclusion of Black trans people from social justice issues, namely racial gender and reproductive justice, as well as gun violence reform,” she added.

At least seven Black trans women have been murdered so far this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Lizzo is currently on tour, and is due to perform at Glastonbury from 21 to 25 June.

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